Fashion faux pas? Barbie sales sag in Mattel’s quarterly earnings

Worldwide sales dropped by 9% for the world's largest toymaker, as girls brands and Fisher-Price struggle on shelves.
July 17, 2014

At this rate, Barbie will have a tough time paying the mortgage on her Dreamhouse. Mattel announced its worldwide net sells dropped 9% for the three months that ended in June, as sales for Barbie and Fisher-Price toys sagged.

It is the third straight decline in quarterly revenue for the world’s largest toymaker. The announcement left shares falling by nearly 7% in early morning trading.¬†Overall, the¬†California-based company had a quarterly profit of US$28.3 million, but this is a significant drop off from the US$73.3 million it posted for the same period last year.

Falling quickly out of fashion is Barbie, whose sales dropped 15% compared the same quarter a year ago. After launching in 1959, the iconic doll is trying to stay fresh for a new generations of girls with products like “Entrepreneur Barbie”, who has her own LinkedIn page with 150 careers listed. It appears as though girls aren’t ready to invest yet, as Barbie’s sales declined in 8 of the past 10 quarters.

Mattel’s preschool line Fisher-Price, meanwhile, posted a sales drop of 17%. Hot Wheels also failed to gain any traction, falling by 2% in sales. Worldwide gross sales for other girls brands declined by 11%, primarily due to a drop in sales for Monster High, but partially offset by strength from Disney Princess and Ever After High brands. Direct to consumer American Girl brands, meanwhile, grew by 6% in quarterly sales up to $83.1 million.

The company sees room for growth in toy categories such as construction, where Lego is king. Earlier this year, Mattel acquired Canada-based MEGA Brands—whose brands include Mega Bloks—for approximately US$423 million.

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